Tag: travel advice

How to plan your fun as a digital nomad

How to plan your fun as a digital nomad

Wondering how to plan your fun as a digital nomad? We have a simple but effective approach. Hint: it starts with a pen and piece of paper. That’s right. We recommend you go old school here and write down your list of things to see 

Hiking on your vacation

Hiking on your vacation

Hiking on your vacation is an excellent way to experience the natural wonders of a destination. Even if you wouldn’t normally consider yourself a hiker, I can guarantee (okay maybe not really, but there’s a very high probability) you will see something incredible if you 

Incorporating music into travel

Incorporating music into travel

I recently came across an interesting article; the gist was that more and more frequently, music is driving Millenial’s vacation choices. As I reflected on some of the statistics found in that study, I realized music is a large component of my adventures. This post will discuss how incorporating music into travel can lead to an enriched experience and maybe take you places you wouldn’t otherwise go. 

Getting all cultured

Music is a key aspect of culture in some places of the world and it would do you a disservice if you didn’t at least try to experience it like the locals do. 


For example, when we visited Bali we made sure to go to a legong dance performance where musicians play traditional gamelan music. During the performance we saw, around half a dozen gamelan players sat on the floor and hit hammer-looking things at drums and metal bowls. It was very percussive and when combined with the dancing semi-trancelike. (Or maybe I just had major jetlag.) I have not purchased any gamelan CDs yet, but it was really cool to hear the type of music people have been playing in this area for the last 2,000 years. Yeah, it’s that old. 


I’ve been to Salzburg, Austria, twice and both times had a really good time incorporating music into travel. On trip number one, we were visiting the Mirabell Gardens and just happened to stumble upon a local performance where older Austrians in traditional wear danced around to some musicians playing acoustic instruments. It was serendipitous and super cool to see. On the last trip we took, our friend C scheduled an AirBnb Experience to take yodeling lessons. We had so much fun! The teacher was delightful and our class had B, C and me, along with four older Austrian women. One interesting thing did happen: the locals were WAY better than us at yodeling Austrian songs. But when it got to a yodel that was more country/western, we rocked it! Their jaws all dropped when we all of a sudden didn’t sound like howling coyotes. 

yodel class
What better way to enjoy the Alps than to yodel?


When we visited Belgrade, B and I learned that you could go see an opera at the Serbian National Opera house for about $5. Now, we didn’t see an opera that was specific to Serbia (it was La Traviatta), but performances like these have a rich history of being performed in Europe. I specifically recommend attending performances in Eastern Europe because you can see world class talent at rock bottom prices. $5! And that was even an upgrade to the nice seats. 

belgrade national opera
Who needs to know the end anyway?

Funny sidenote about seeing La Traviata. It was sung in Italian and since we were in Serbia the subtitles provided were in Cyrilic, which means we understood none of the words (spoken or written). We figured there were three acts and after what (we felt) was the third act, we got up and left when the lights came on and people started clapping. I didn’t quite follow the story so I looked it up back at our hotel and it turns out we left before the third act even started. Whoops. 


In the millennial article, one in four people said they would travel internationally to a concert of a band they like. B and I haven’t made it to a show in a foreign country, but we have definitely had fun incorporating music into travel in the U.S. to watch some bands. 

Concert dictates the travel

When we took a giant road trip of the Southeast, we planned our route based on when the Randy Rogers Band was going to record a live album in Helotes, Texas. About a week later, we saw the Turnpike Troubadours were going to be playing in Memphis, Tennessee. Those things gave us the framework for all our other destinations and stops along the ride. 

Have vacation, will concert

On our way back from Morocco, B and I were flying in and out of New York City. Our flight arrived late and we knew we were going to have to overnight it and then continue westward the next day. American Aquarium just happened to be playing that night, so we went straight from the airport to the subway to the show. I’m sure we smelled delightful to all our fellow concert goers, but luckily there’s enough going on in dive bars that no one really can pinpoint the source of smelliness. 

Incorporating music into travel NYC American Aquarium
We got up close and personal at this rocking’ show on our layover

I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but on that same trip home from Morocco, we flew from NYC to Denver to watch another concert and then finally made it back to Boise the next day. What can I say…we were younger. 


Festivals are a delightful way to blend travel and music. There are loads of these shows now (mainly during the summer). I’m guessing they bring in a ton of money, bands like them cuz they get to hang with their friends in other bands, and concert goers like them cuz they get to see lots of bands all at once. 

A few of our main summer activities usually revolve around festivals, be it the Braun Brothers Reunion or Wheatstock in August or the Highway 30 Fest in June. These festivals are all located within a few hundred miles of Boise. It seems like festivals are becoming more and more popular, no matter the size of the town. The Wheatstock festival I mentioned earlier? That thing takes place in a town of 184. There isn’t even a gas station or ATM around, but they have great music!

incorporating music into travel small town concert
Small town sponsors are part of the fun of small town festivals.


You can still incorporate music into your travel, even if you don’t get to see a live performance. How? By creating a trip soundtrack! It’s really fun to find good music that has some reference to the places you are going. When we crossed Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, I had “Hurricane” by the Band of Heathens all ready to go. And when we drove into the majestic Blue Mountains in Australia, I had “Blue Side of the Mountain” by the SteelDrivers all keyed up.

I have some friends who would create trivia playlists for each other for their road trips. The one who didn’t make the list had to listen to the songs and guess the common theme. For example, if I played Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the FooFighters the answer would be ‘bands from Seattle.’ Music can make or break a road trip, so make sure you are primed and ready with your tunes before you get in the car.


If music is a big part of your life, it is a no brainer that incorporating music into travel will enrich your experience. So what about it? Did the article describe you? If so, make sure you include music in your next adventures. And if you have other good ways of combining music and travel, please share! 

Related posts you might like:

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8 things to do in Southern Florida

8 things to do in Southern Florida

Over Thanksgiving, B and I flew to Miami, Florida. This was a great way to escape the cold winter of Idaho and relax over the holiday. While we were there, we saw lots of wildlife, beautiful beaches and national parks. Southern Florida is rich in 

Making the most of limited vacation

Making the most of limited vacation

R and I have full-time jobs with limited vacation hours. We are blessed to have more than two weeks of vacation a year, but we are still constrained by the amount of time we have to travel and go on adventures. Therefore, we have become 

B’s 2018 travel finds for women

B’s 2018 travel finds for women

I tried out a number of new (to me) travel-related products in 2018. Some were real winners and made my trips easier, while others were just okay and not really worth the hassle. Interestingly enough, none were duds. Below, in no particular order, are my 2018 travel finds for women. Go ahead and try one out if you think it will make your travel life a little easier. I have included links (some of them Amazon affiliate) to those products I have personally ordered and used.

Powdered toothpaste

One of my favorite finds in 2018 was powdered toothpaste. I tried it out as part of an experiment comparing solid versus liquid travel toiletries to see how long they each last. At the end of the experiment, I was a convert. Yes, powdered toothpaste lasts longer than its liquid counterpart. However, there are a lot of other advantages. Since it is not a liquid, you do not have to worry about leaks (or more likely explosions) and or the 3.4 ounce TSA restriction.

Over the past year, I have noticed a rising popularity in powdered toothpaste. When I first started researching it, I could only find it in two stores near me. So I bought it off of Amazon. Now, I see it at a lot more stores. Powdered toothpaste also makes a great DIY project and recipes abound on the internet. I too have made my own and find it quick and easy.

Brushing your teeth with powdered toothpaste is a different experience. I did not find it unpleasant, but it took a little bit to get used to. However, I do really like the taste of the brand I bought and best of all, it has helped with some light staining on my teeth (my dental hygienist even commented on it).

You do not have to convert entirely and use it at home. But you might want to consider it for your next trip.

Tooth powder from Amazon

Allbirds shoes

These shoes have lived up to their hype. They really are super comfortable. They really are easy to clean. But my favorite part is that you don’t have to wear socks with them. Because they are made out of wool, it is like the sock is built in. I bought a cream pair for travel, which just seems crazy. But they held up and when I got home, I threw them in the washing machine. They came out good as new.

To see more, watch my review on YouTube:

Travel foot hammock

A foot hammock is a simple thing, but it can be quite delightful. It might be my favorite try of 2018. If you have ever flown on Turkish Airlines, you know that even the seats way back in economy have little foot rests. That might not seem like a big deal, but on a ten-hour flight, the ability to elevate your legs even a few inches is a welcome relief.

A foot hammock does the same thing. It is lightweight and rolls up, so it doesn’t take up much room. You simply “install” it by hanging it over your tray table. If you position it right, it will work when the tray is both up and down. You can also adjust the length to your preference. Both R and I received one from my mother for Christmas and we both enjoyed it all the way home.

Travel foot hammock
2018 travel finds for women foot hammock
A travel foot hammock is great!

Mini flat iron

My sister-in-law is a former hair stylist and she squealed with delight when she caught a glimpse of my mini flat iron. It really is the most adorable thing. But aside from being cute, it is practical for travel (assuming you need/want to fix your hair). It is small and light, comes in a travel case, has a long cord (useful for reaching weirdly placed outlets) and works in countries with a different voltage. You just need your handy adapter and you are good to go.

Most of the time, I do not bother much with my hair while traveling. But every now and then, I like to spruce up a bit. I do not mind throwing in my tiny flat iron for those every-now-and-then situations. It is also really handy for work travel.

2018 travel finds for women mini flat iron travel hair
Curls! Easy to do with a mini flat iron.

Dual USB plug

Traveling nowadays typically includes a lot more electronics than it used to. There are smartphones, wireless earphones/buds, tablets and readers, laptops, etc. And all those electronics need to be charged. Since I only have one adapter, I was struggling to juggle all the necessary charging for my electronics. Enter a dual USB plug. This plug takes up a touch more room than my single USB plug, but it gives me two charging options at the same time. It is a small change, but it made a big difference, especially the last night of a trip.

Note: I bought a second plug and these are now my go-to at home.

Dual USB wall charger on Amazon

Compression packing cube

Ever since the first trip I took with a compression packing cube, I have been hooked. I bought Grand Trunk’s version on sale on a whim. That turned out to be a great whim. There are a lot of options out there for both packing cubes (which I still use) and compression bags (which I use occasionally). But this two-in-one option has traveled with me on every trip since I got it and I love it. I have not tried other brands, but I would be willing to give them a shot.

If you want to see how it works, check out my review of the Grand Trunk compression pack cube on YouTube.

Essential oil carrier

In 2018, I began experimenting with essential oils while traveling. It has been a hit-or-miss experience so far. But one thing that was a hit was the adorable essential oil carrying case I found on Etsy. The case holds three small bottles and adds a level of protection against breakage. I have only used it on one trip so far, so I have some more experimenting to do.

Essential Oil Holder on Etsy

Trtl travel pillow

The Trtl travel pillow was an okay find. It was not life changing, but it did the job. It’s biggest recommendation is its size/shape. I like my cabeau pillow, but it takes up a lot of room. I don’t mind that so much during the plane ride, but I hate packing it around once I arrive at my destination. The Trtle travel pillow lays almost flat and is quite light. So it just makes it easier to pack.

I did get a little warm on the flight, but I am not sure if the pillow contributed to that or not. I thought I might not like that you have to pick a side to lean against, but that did not end up bothering me at all. My overnighter to Europe was still painful, but it was made less painful by this pillow. If you haven’t invested in a travel pillow yet, the Trtle is a solid option.

Trtl Travel Pillow

Face mist

I saw face mist on a travel vlog and immediately decided to give it a try. Honestly, it felt great…when I remembered to use it. R and I enjoyed several nice spritzes on the flight to Germany. However, on the way home I completely forgot all about it. Now that I think about it, it would have been really useful when I was feeling sleeping and dehydrated. Next time!

I also think it would be great on trips to hot places. A little spritz would provide a little relief, which is better than nothing when one is hot and miserable.

Evian facial spray on Amazon

Eye mask

A disposable eye mask was another suggestion I got from a travel vlog. You may feel a little foolish with them on, but they were quite soothing. I’m not sure I arrived in Europe any fresher than usual, but it made for an entertaining 15 minutes…which is always appreciated on a long flight.

2018 travel finds for women eye mask
Hydrating eye masks on a long flight.


I always enjoy trying new products. I especially enjoy trying new travel products that make travel easier or more enjoyable. Try out a couple of my 2018 travel finds for women and let me know what you think.

Airbnb reservation tips and tricks: how to find the perfect Airbnb [for you]

Airbnb reservation tips and tricks: how to find the perfect Airbnb [for you]

Finding the perfect Airbnb (for you) is not an impossible feat. However, it is not always a walk in the park either. If finding the right place to stay using Airbnb has been a struggle for you in the past, fear not. R and I 

8 Places to Find Affordable Travel Clothes for Women

8 Places to Find Affordable Travel Clothes for Women

We have talked about the importance of traveling with quality clothes and gear. The right clothes can make a big difference on how comfortable you are out on the road. They also help with packing light. However, finding affordable travel clothes for women can sometime 

10 Not-So-Fun Things About Travel

10 Not-So-Fun Things About Travel

Unfortunately, not-so-fun travel moments happen. It is not all hearts and flowers and there are definitely some unpleasant moments on the road. For me, those parts pale in comparison to all of the fun stuff. However, I think it might be worth mentioning the not-so-fun travel stuff for those who are new to travel and may be taken aback a little by them.

Not-so-fun travel experiences

When my coworker, who has done very little traveling overseas, returned from her dream vacation to Italy, she said to me, “you never talk about the hard stuff.” I thought about that for a moment and realized she was right. I don’t. I thought for another minute about why that is and came up with the following reasons: 1. My mother taught me to always focus on the positive; 2. When I think about my travel experiences, I usually only remember the good stuff; and 3. I figure some of the hard stuff is just the price one pays to see the world. But based on my coworker’s observation, I figured I would go ahead and share the 10 things I dislike the most about travel. Obviously, they are not enough to keep me from going on trips. But I suppose they are worth mentioning so that one can be prepared for those inevitable not-so-fun travel experiences.

1. Coming home

If you are like us, a vacation is something you look forward to and anticipate for much longer than you are actually gone. It is only natural to feel a little down when the vacation is over. I try to focus on the good things about coming home (e.g. sleeping in my own bed, having more than three outfits to choose from, etc.), but the truth is, the end of a vacation kind of sucks. R and I combat this by trying to have our next trip already in the books. That gives us something new to look forward to and helps with the end-of-vacation blues.

Clouds from a plane window, not-so-fun travel
Flying home.

2. Packing

As much as I look forward to going on a trip, I absolutely HATE packing. I am proficient enough at it (practice makes perfect), but that does not mean I enjoy it. In fact, every trip I take makes me hate it a little more. The sorting and trying to figure out my best options, keeping in mind things like unpredictable weather, is just not fun. Also, I try to pack light, so that adds extra pressure. We have all sorts of tips and tricks we use—which we try to share on here with you all. But even with all the tricks in the book, packing remains a very unpleasant part of travel for me. (I just need to figure out how to get R to do it for me.)

3. Tourists

We have talked about other tourists before and even wrote a post about how to deal with them. But regardless of how I deal with them, they remain one of my least favorite parts of travel. Yes, I realize I am a tourist. But there are different types of tourists out there and unfortunately, too many are disrespectful. And nothing ruins a moment faster than a tour bus full of people swarming all around you, selfie sticks waving to and fro. Tourist may actually top my list of not-so-fun travel moments.

Australia, great ocean road, tourist, not-so-fun travel
Tourists abound along the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

4. Expenses

I completely agree with the saying about how travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. I have never regretted buying a plane ticket to a new destination. That does not mean it is easy to hand over my hard-earned wages. It is especially hard to pay for things that do not feel worth the price. In addition, as I have gotten older, I find my tastes have gotten a little more expensive (no more hostels for me). Thankfully, I make more money than I did at 21. Even still, I spend a lot of time searching for deals and comparing value. It helps if you have travel companions to split expenses with. The worst are those unforeseen expenses. Unfortunately, they are just a part of travel—a part I really do not enjoy.

5. Delays

There is nothing you can do about flight delays. They are frustrating beyond belief, especially if they cut into your vacation time. Unfortunately, if you travel, eventually you will have to deal with a delay or two. Maybe even a cancellation. They definitely belong on this not-so-fun travel list. I can think of fewer things that ruin a vacation faster.

airport arrivals reader board, delayed flights, not-so-fun travel
Airport departures around Christmas time. So much yellow!

Along with delays, I feel like I should mention losing your luggage. It has only happened to me a couple of times and always on my way home. I feel like the airlines are getting better at tracking luggage (as they should with all of the new technology out there), but losing one’s luggage is still a pain in the butt and something I do not enjoy about travel.

6. Humidity

We have discussed our general dislike (or rather loathing) of hot, humid places. We still visit them because I am not going to let a little sweat stop me from exploring. But I really, really dislike that part of travel. R put together some tips for what to pack when visiting hot and humid climates and even wrote about for how to survive the heat in a hot place. Packing the right clothes definitely helps, but I still feel miserable when the sweat is dripping down my back. Perhaps you feel about cold climates the way I do about humid climates. Regardless of your preference, climate will either be a pleasant or unpleasant part of your experience. Do your best to prepare for it, but do not let it ruin your experience.

Blue skies, San Juan, Puerto Rico
A beautiful but very, very hot walk around San Juan.

7. Periods

Sorry for the overshare, but dealing with a period on a trip is the worst. There are a few options a gal can try in an effort to not have to deal with a period while traveling (talk to your doctor), but those options are not always a possibility. Until I find the perfect solution, periods will continue to be one of the most unpleasant parts of travel for me and make my not-so-fun travel list.

8. Maintenance

We have mentioned that we are not terribly high-maintenance girls. However, we are still girls and as such, we do put some effort into our appearance. That means some work often has to be done before we leave on a trip. We might need to get our hair trimmed or maybe a get a spray tan (this was a great idea when we traveled to Hawaii in February). My least favorite activity however, is a bikini wax. I would not do it at all, except that it makes life easier while traveling somewhere where I will be wearing a swimsuit. This type of maintenance is not mandatory. But since it makes travel a little easier, I do it. I just do not enjoy it at all.

9. Shorter days

If you travel to colder climates in the wintertime, or anywhere near the equator, daylight is limited. Around the equator, it gets dark at 6 p.m. (year-round). We were surprised to find that the sun went down around 4:30 p.m. in Amsterdam around Christmas time. Shorter days really limit what you can do and see. I find it a hassle to worry about and do not enjoy it at all. It is manageable, but not a not-so-fun travel thing.

Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium, dust, not-so-fun travel
We tried so hard to get to this cemetery before dark.

10. Lack of comfort

Yes, I am talking about a very first-world problem here. But I really hate a cold shower at the end of the day…or first thing in the morning. I get frustrated when my hotel or Airbnb is not as described. I dislike loud noises when I am trying to sleep. When you stay in an unfamiliar place in an unfamiliar land, things are different. Sometimes they are better. But sometimes they are not and you just have to make the most of it. A lack of comfort is not-so-fun travel at its finest.

Airbnb, Azores, religious festival, parade, white house
This lovely Airbnb in the Azores was not quite what we were expecting and we had to have an uncomfortable talk with the host in order to get what we paid for.


Travel is wonderful, but there are certain parts of it that can be unpleasant. You can manage and prepare for some of the unpleasant stuff. However, if you want to have a good time and return home will good memories, you have to focus on the wonderful.

2018 New Year’s Resolution: Travel More

2018 New Year’s Resolution: Travel More

Travel resolutions and goals are the best in my opinion. 2017 was an incredible year for travel. I knocked off not one, but two bucket list items (Australia and the Azores), had a lovely Christmas in Europe and experienced many, many weekend adventures. I am